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Chesscraft - chess variant with collectable card game elements

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ccube78
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This game is a mix of chess variant with collectable card game elements. I draw my inspiration from Navia Dratp, Knightmare Chess and Magic: The Gathering. It is made for 1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2 play.

Objective of the game is to capture the opponent's king. At the beginning of each player's turn, he draws 1 card. During his turn, the player has to make a move on one of his pieces. Before or after the Move, he can summon piece, promote piece or play a card by paying the cost. Costs are paid by discarding cards.

There are 4 colors, each associated with a race. Orc is Red, Undead is Black, Blue is Human and Green is Elf. Each has their own unique abilities to influence the game play. Orc specializes in piece promotion and movement, Undead in graveyard manipulation and piece control, Human in piece position and board manipulation, and Elf in card manipulation.

I made a 1st version and playtested it myself, and found it requires more thinking during play than chess or card game alone.

Any comments on the idea of mixing collectable card game with chess? Hope to get some comments or suggestions here.

schmanthony
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Joined: 12/18/2008
sounds like an interesting idea

This kind of reminds me at my attempt to fuse a central area control mechanic with Chess (http://www.bgdf.com/node/1470).

From the discussion on that forum, I would encourage you to work towards separating your design from Chess. I've always seen Chess as a potential foundation for countless designs. As someone on the forum pointed out, there are indeed hundreds of Chess variants in existence. The trouble with these is - very few people are interested in playing them and there is no shortage of hobbyists who are busily making more.

This could easily be what lead to the commercial failure of Navia Dratp, one of the games you mentioned.

There's nothing wrong with starting with Chess and working from that. Just try to separate your design with enough new concepts that players won't see it as "just another Chess variant" or even "like Chess" as a whole.

Taure
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Interesting

Sound great! I, personally, haven't seen to many chess-variants, so to me they stand out. One suggestion though, is to not go with the CCG (although obviously keeping the cards) and going with a more expansion pack idea. Unless of course that is your idea. :)

metzgerism
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In the past, I've

In the past, I've conceptualized a Tactics Ogre/FF Tactics style of grid-based SRPG, where chess was the key ingredient, but you could summon reinforcements throughout the battle by some limited means. Reinforcements and starting pieces would always be a two-piece combo of pawns and power pieces, but fairy pieces would be used extensively (including fairy pawns like the Berolina).

ccube78
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Joined: 08/12/2009
Thanks for the replies!

Thanks for the replies!

schmanthony - Yes, there seems to be so many Chess variants. But I love Chess, especially Chinese Chess (Xiangqi), so that is one reason why I started out to create this game. I hope the introduction of fairy pieces will make it less like standard international or chiness chess, which may be boring since everyone is familar with the standard piece moves. I understand people may be bored with Chess variants, but I hope to make one that is more interesting or different in a way.

I see some shortcomings in Navia Dratp and Knightmare Chess, which I try to correct in this game. For Navia Dratp, firstly, the promoted pieces has abilities which are not apparent at all. New players, and especially the opponent, may have to keep referring to the cards to see what the promoted abilities are. It drags the game. Secondly, some pieces are more powerful than others, but there is no system to even this out for both players. The player with the more powerful pieces (perhaps with more money to buy or trade for them, since its a collectable game) has the advantage. Thirdly, it's a collectable game, which may put off some people. For Knightmare chess, playing 1 card per turn with no cost associated with the more powerful cards, makes the game totally chaotic. There is no incentive in planning ahead.

Taure - I have no intention of making the game collectable. My idea would be to prepare the games in self-contained sets, or a main set with expansion sets as you mentioned. I personally do not really like collectable games, though I do like the way Magic is played.

metzgerism - Your game concept sounds very much like mine, except for the RPG part. I am a fan of FF tactics. Can you describe more about your RPG aspect of the game?

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
If . . .

. . . this were advertised as "chess-like", I would definitely pass on it. (Me, personally, as a person who loves chess, and loves games with cards in them.) I tried knightmare chess once . . . it made me so angry. Heh.

If this was a tactical combat game that had pieces that moved kind of like chess pieces, I'd be a lot more like "hey that looks interesting."

Just as a consumer, and a gamer, I view chess as a pretty big masterwork. Anyone trying to say they've made it cooler will be viewed with a lot of skepticism. I would agree with the "separate it from chess" sentiment if it were my game, for those reasons.

ccube78
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Boardgamegeek

I have just uploaded my game at Boardgamegeek. Do take a look and let me know your comments or suggestions!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54124

I am currently thinking of how to make the game less chesslike and let it have more RPG or tactical combat elements, as suggested.

metzgerism
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ccube78 wrote:metzgerism -

ccube78 wrote:
metzgerism - Your game concept sounds very much like mine, except for the RPG part. I am a fan of FF tactics. Can you describe more about your RPG aspect of the game?

RPGing was actually not something that I really considered, frankly, just the basic battle system. However, I did make the assumption that a king (or some sort) would always be in the battle (maybe making a bare-king a victory condition), and you were allowed to "summon" higher strength pieces as you earned them, meaning the queen would be a possible piece relatively late in the game.

The battle system, in itself, would be more of a manipulation of the square grid than a true test of chess power - something that may in fact be lost in competitive chess.

After playing some Dominion, I can see this game as a Fischer-random variant: you pick 7-9 piece combos (for potentially a larger board), lay them down in opposition to eachother, and play as if those pieces were always a part of the game. This effectively gives players immense replay value based on a game that they already are VERY familiar with.

schmanthony
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Joined: 12/18/2008
irregular board

Have you considered using an irregular board shape instead of a square or rectangle? You could even use a modular board composed of half a dozen pieces to provide replay value and eliminate scripted openings.

ccube78
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Modular board

schmanthony wrote:
Have you considered using an irregular board shape instead of a square or rectangle? You could even use a modular board composed of half a dozen pieces to provide replay value and eliminate scripted openings.

I am actually using modular board for my game. There are 16 board tiles, each 2x2 square region. Players take turns to place each board tile before the game. Thus, the eventual playing region will not look like a 8x8 chessboard, unless the players choose to.

Also, since there are no pawns in the game and players start from zero and summon pieces to play one by one, there is also no scripted openings.

truekid games
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as mentioned above, chess

as mentioned above, chess variants are a dime a dozen (just like the thousand risk/axis and allies clones, the bajillion -opoly games, and the variety of card games trying to "fix" Magic or RPG's trying to "fix" D&D).

knightmare chess actually had a built-in point cost system as an option for deck construction, which offsets balance issues a lot.

however, my real point is to re-inforce what the above poster said... a good starting point, just because you're building on a stable system. but if i picked up any board game and it purported to be "chess-like" on the box, i would put it back down. and i like chess- i founded my high-school chess club. you just need to change A LOT to ensure you're not "just another" chess variant... so much so that you shouldn't need or want to identify it as chess-like any more.

ccube78
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Chess variant

I am just starting to wonder - what would be the criteria to define a game as a chess variant?

For Chesscraft, the board is modular (not 8x8 board), most of the pieces are non-orthodox chess pieces (or fairy pieces), players need to summon the pieces into the game 1 by 1, and cards are incorporated into the game. Does it feel like playing Chess when I play this game? No. But does it remind me of Chess? Yes, definitely. So I guess that makes it a chess variant?

I guess there's no easy way I can make it a non-Chess-variant. The options that I can think of would be removing the capturing process, removing the king, replacing the squares with other shapes, including pieces with really unique piece movement.

scifiantihero
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Change the name!

That would be a start ;)

truekid games
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i don't want you to feel like

i don't want you to feel like i'm saying anything other than "make the game you want to make", i'm just wanting you to know how common your starting point is (i mean, it is an ancient game known by the whole world, after all), so that you can make informed decisions.

ccube78
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ChessCraft v1.1

ChessCraft v1.1 is uploaded. I have added Piece Modifier Permanents that affect the way pieces move, capture or interact with other pieces. This greatly expands the piece movement and capture possibilities which cannot be adequately described with the movement grid representation.

This achieves the purpose of having more unique ways of movement or capture. For the board, currently I will stick with squares rather than hexagonals or triangles. For the royal piece (king), I am hesitant to remove it as it gives the game a focus. Without it, the focus changes to capturing the non-royal pieces which does not seem to be strong enough to sustain the interest.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54124

Isamoor
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Somewhat off topic: Dude, I

Somewhat off topic:

Dude, I can't help but read "CHEESE CRAFT" when I read your title. It happens over and over. Maybe a jump to "RookCraft" or "PawnCraft" or something.

Of course, now that I've said this I at least owe you reading over the rules and adding some food for thought. I will get to it tomorrow, I promise.

Isamoor
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ccube78 wrote:ChessCraft v1.1

ccube78 wrote:
ChessCraft v1.1 is uploaded. I have added Piece Modifier Permanents that affect the way pieces move, capture or interact with other pieces. This greatly expands the piece movement and capture possibilities which cannot be adequately described with the movement grid representation.

This achieves the purpose of having more unique ways of movement or capture. For the board, currently I will stick with squares rather than hexagonals or triangles. For the royal piece (king), I am hesitant to remove it as it gives the game a focus. Without it, the focus changes to capturing the non-royal pieces which does not seem to be strong enough to sustain the interest.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54124

I did make it through the discussion today.

Most of all, I actually come back to my original suggestion. Change the blamed name. Drop Chess out of the name entirely. It's fine to keep the familiar pieces so newbs can pick up the game quickly; but using Chess in the title is just going to make everyone put it back on the shelf without even exploring it.

As for the rules:

Some more formatting wouldn't hurt. I realize that you're going for PnP, but at least drop the constant dashes when you're not making a list.

23 Keywords is a darn lot of keywords. I thought you were trying to leverage the familiarity of chess, not estrange people with a whole new language.

And the cards are so empty, couldn't you just get away with a lot less keywords? Or at least use reminder text like MtG does every time they release a new keyword?

All your movement cards are dizzying. I see tons of movement styles that are nothing like chess. Why did you go so deep here? There's no way I could stare at a board and have any clue what my pieces could do if they each could be selected from a different one of those cards.

Personally, my recommendation would be:

Even though I recommend dropping the Chess name, I think I would bring *BACK* the chess movement options.
The card play actually looks interesting, but the tons of keywords scares me away. Maybe you could simplify the number of those to not be intimidating.

Maybe make the game use a standard chess set or two. I realize I told you to distance yourself, but very few people are going to bother to make this game as it stands now. If instead you told them:

Download this Deck Of Cards
Also download these "terrain features"
Play a wholey different game with your chess set.

It would be easy to have "terrain features" that set over an owner's chess board to give the unique geography each game.

Anyway, just some thoughts. I wish you the best of luck!

ccube78
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Isamoor, Thanks for your

Isamoor,

Thanks for your suggestions!

The name ChessCraft is actually a combination of Chess and WarCraft. Chess because the game is a chess variant, and WarCraft because I want to use the WarCraft theme in the game. I agree that the word Chess may put off people who do not like standard chess. But I have no idea what to call the game, still working on that...

I like your suggestion of using reminder text instead of the long list of keywords, will include that in the next rule revision. I'm a Magic fan, and this possibility just slipped my mind..

For the movement cards (or Piece Modifier Permanents), they are added in the version 1.1 to introduce more unique ways of movement. The basic pieces are fairy pieces which may still remind people of Chess. I do agree the problem of associating the cards with the pieces. How to allow the players to know easily the way each modified piece moves and captures? The current solution is to put 2 glass gems, 1 on the piece and 1 on the Piece Modifier Card. Another alternative is to make the Modifier cards work as Action cards which can only be used 1 time, so there's no issue of tracking which piece has which Modifier.

Thanks for the suggestion of making it a cards only version, with standard chess set. It never crossed my mind that fairy pieces may actually put people off, who are more familiar with Chess. I will include a cards-only version, as well as a piece-only version in the next rules revision.

As for the terrain idea, someone also suggested this in the BGG forum. This will also be included in the next revision.

Keep the comments or suggestions coming!

Isamoor
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ccube78 wrote:Another

ccube78 wrote:
Another alternative is to make the Modifier cards work as Action cards which can only be used 1 time, so there's no issue of tracking which piece has which Modifier.

That sounds like a very good solution to me.

ccube78
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ChessCraft v1.2 has been uploaded

ChessCraft v1.2 has been uploaded.

Changes made:
- Reformatted the rules (removed the glossary).
- Changed Piece Modifier Permanents to Actions as there is a problem of tracking these Permanents.
- Added terrain to the board tiles. Players can draw 1 extra card if they occupy all their 4 terrains.
- Included various versions of the game, such as cards-only or pieces-only.
- Included 2 more victory conditions.
- Players may respond when opponent plays a card by playing a card of their own. Cards are resolved first in last out.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/54124

ccube78
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ChessCraft v1.3

For v1.3, I included fantasy graphics on the cards. The graphics are obtained from free graphics websites.

carlyn
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Joined: 09/22/2009
A name suggestion

Battle Craft
BattleCraft Chess
WAR Chess
Blood Chess
Unreal Chess
Fantasy chess
Kingdoms of Chess
Fighting Chess

or maybe a name without the word CHESS except on the back of the box where you explain a little of the play ?

carlyn
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Joined: 09/22/2009
Are youdoingall the gRAPHICS YOURSELF ?

i HAVE BEEN A CHESS FREAK FOR YEARS AND OWN standard sets, like, Brass Romans, Silver GAuls, Fantasy chess sets, but they all play the same as persion/indian chess.
I never bought the 3D chess set, no particular reason, just thought it lookede a bit too stange.

I like what Ive downloaded and read about your game.
Are you able to make a few boxes of the game yourself. I did one for a war game and used an A2 or A3 printer and the map was huge.
I made all my own military cardboard units compleate with there movment stats and damage .....etc printed on them. Had to scan photos of soldiers and tanks and such and shrtink them doem to 11mm by 11mm. Then laminate them and use a huge paper guilitione to cut them all out. The game waws outstanding.

ccube78
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The graphics are actually

The graphics are actually obtained from some websites. But as mentioned by someone in the BGG forum, they are probably not free to use, so I will probably be removing the file with these graphics. Someone recommended DeviantArt to get free-to-use graphics, but it is rather tedious to email every individual artist and seek their permission to use their graphics. Anyone who knows of a website where I can just use the graphics for free, do let me know.

I have made a prototype and played with it. It is actually quite easy to make, just need to print out the cards and the pieces in A4. I am not sure if the modular boards are a good idea, as I find the game plays better with a normal 8x8 chessboard.

As for the names, thanks for the suggestions! I will look into those.

Thanks for downloading and reading my game. Do print and try the game out, and let me know what you think!

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